During our epic escape from The Ragbrai, Mary and I bumped into a man and woman riding from Boulder, CO, to Chicago, IL. He was on a 90s vintage Trek 1220, the purple and green roadie with triple and down tube shifter. She was on a dark purple Trek 970 MTB of similar vintage. Both had front and rear racks although he was the only one with bags, two up front.
Looking at our loaded tandem and overstuffed panniers, four of them, he initiated the conversation at a stop light on the sidepath trail on Hickman Rd in the urban hell of Waukee, Iowa. I was a bit shocked by their lack of provisions, maybe the heat and humidity and traffic was getting to my brain. He said that they sent their camping gear back home because they did not need it as it was too hot. Of course they may have had places to stay for their journey. But we agreed, July is not tent weather in the Midwest.
Our tent never left the front left pannier. Too hot. We did use the Thermorest pads and LaFuma sleeping bags set on top of the tarp we brought to cover the bike. We were lucky and either had a house to sleep in or a covered park shelter. Had to have a/c or a decent breeze to sleep in Iowa during the last full week of July.
When the light turned green we went forward and our new fellow travels wet to a gas station. They were planning to catch up with The Ragbrai on Saturday. I wished we had more time to talk. I hope their journey ended safely.